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Protesters rail against Spain's Socialist Party deal with Catalan separatists

Tension boiled over at the demonstration resulting in several arrests
Tension boiled over at the demonstration resulting in several arrests Copyright Andrea Comas/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Andrea Comas/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Kristina HarazimEuronews with AP
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Opponents of acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's pact to form a coalition government with the pro-independence Catalan party have protested again outside the Socialist Party headquarters in Madrid. Tension boiled over at the demonstration resulting in several arrests.

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On Thursday night, protesters threw bottles, beer cans, and fireworks at a police cordon protecting the headquarters.

The officers responded with batons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd as tensions rose.

The demonstration was triggered by confirmation of the deal between the Socialist Party and the Catalan separatist Junts party, lead by Carles Puigdemont, signed on Thursday which is also expected to grant an amnesty to Puigdemont and others involved in the 2017 failed secession bid.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium after leading the independence attempt for Catalonia.

The decision greatly boosts Sanchez’s chances of forming another minority leftist coalition government.

He still needs the backing of a small Basque party which he is likely to achieve.

Criticism deal is 'undemocratic'

Vox party president Santiago Abascal said the alliance is undemocratic.

''It has been set in motion today, definitely, the coup against the nation, against democracy and against the law, and therefore begins a black period in the history of Spain."

An amnesty has been the crucial part of negotiations by representatives of Sanchez’s caretaker leftist government to win the support of two Catalan pro-independence parties. 

The backing of Puigdemont’s Junts (Together) and its rival Republican Left of Catalonia party, which gave its backing to Sanchez last week, is vital if Sanchez is to be reelected prime minister following an inconclusive national election in July.

While the two radical parties hold just seven seats each in the 350-member parliament, only they can put Sanchez over the necessary threshold of 176 votes in an investiture session that is expected to be held in the coming days.

If a government cannot be formed before November 27, the parliament will be dissolved and a new election called for January.

The amnesty would benefit Puigdemont and scores of others, from minor government officials to ordinary citizens, who ran into legal trouble for their roles in Catalonia’s illegal bid for independence that brought Spain to the brink of rupture six years ago.

Spain’s courts are still trying to have Puigdemont extradited from Belgium.

Given that he is considered an enemy of the state for many Spaniards, any deal that benefits him is politically toxic.

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